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Tech & Wearables

Elite Rampa smart trainer

We found the Elite Rampa was a good, functional smart trainer, but it is not perfect.

Price

$650

Brand

Elite


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It doesn’t look like other trainers. With its distinctive white color and red accents, Elite’s Rampa trainer stands apart. If you’re like me, a trainer becomes part of your home décor in the winter months, so this stylish flair might be a good look for your second bedroom, or wherever you choose to sweat. But is the Rampa’s performance exceptional? We found it was a good, functional smart trainer, but it is not perfect.

Out of the box, set-up was a bit more involved than some trainers we have tested. To assemble the Rampa, we needed a couple Allen keys (provided), a wrench, and about 30 minutes of time. The legs fold up, but the resistance unit protrudes, so it’s tricky to stuff this behind a couch. Like most trainers, it fits a variety of wheel sizes but requires an adaptor to play nice with thru-axles.

Once we started pedaling, the Rampa provided smooth, quiet resistance, certainly better than most tire-mounted trainers. This is perhaps attributed to that red roller, made of what Elite calls “elastogel,” which is essentially a plastic polymer, not metal. Though the trainer frame’s white legs are pretty beefy, we found the unit to be a little tippy when sprinting.

The Bluetooth-enabled Rampa is compatible with both Zwift and TrainerRoad, two of the most popular smart-trainer apps. It also can use the ANT+ communication protocol and the trainer comes with the corresponding USB stick required to connect to most popular smart trainer programs. We took it for a spin on Zwift Island and were pleasantly surprised to find no appreciable jerky resistance that sometimes comes with a tire-mounted trainer.

In addition to those apps, Elite has one of its own, My E-Training, which lets you manage heart rate, power, distance, and time. The trainer connects to your phone or tablet, and the app offers a variety of workouts, fitness tests, and optional add-on purchases, like videos of famous European climbs. You can also use Google Maps to create courses to virtually ride indoors. When you buy the trainer, a free one-year subscription to My E-Training is included. For a rider without a coach, wanting some guidance while training through the winter, this app might be a nice option.

If you’re inclined to do some comparison-shopping, the Elite Rampa’s closest competitor is a Wahoo Kickr Snap. The latter is usually priced at $700, $50 more than the Rampa, but currently, Wahoo has it on sale for $600. In terms of performance, the two are fairly comparable, though the Kickr is a bit more compact, and set-up is easier. Elite says the Rampa’s maximum simulated gradient is 10 percent, and it tops out at 800 watts. Wahoo claims the Kickr Snap can ramp you up to 12 percent and handles 1,500 watts max. Wahoo includes a front wheel block with its trainer, while Elite does not. However, if you get a Kickr Snap, you’ll need to buy the USB stick separately; it’s not included with the unit, as it is with the Rampa.

When it comes to riding indoors, we usually prefer Zwift for entertainment and structure. The E-Training app might appeal to some, but it isn’t this trainer’s biggest selling point. We appreciated its quiet, smooth resistance, but the Rampa left us wishing it was a bit more stable when we got out of the saddle to sprint for that KOM on Zwift Island.